The Border Security Force (BSF) on Friday said that seven Pakistan Rangers personnel and one militant were killed in retaliatory firing after one of its soldiers was critically injured by sniper fire from across the International Border in Jammu. Pakistan, however, denied any loss of life on its side during the firing.“In a befitting reply to a sniper attack of Pak Rangers at 9.35 am in the Hira Nagar sector of the Jammu frontier, BSF launched an aggressive offensive. During intermittent firing of small arms and area weapons, one militant and seven Rangers were shot dead,” the BSF said in a statement.
Sources said that the information about Pak casualties was based on chat intercepts by intelligence agencies that spoke of “seven-eight casualties”. The injured BSF personnel has been identified as Gurnam Singh of Magowali village in RS Pura tehsil. According to BSF, on the night of October 19-20, its troops foiled an infiltration bid in the vicinity of Bobiyan village within the Hira Nagar sector in Jammu.
Following this, sources said, there was unprovoked firing from the Pakistani side at the Hira Nagar, Akhnoor and Kathua sectors. “BSF retaliation to this fire claimed one militant’s life,” said the statement. “There were four instances of firing through the day in the three sectors. The BSF retaliated befittingly. It was during the retaliatory firing that the force managed to inflict casualties on Pakistan Rangers,” said a BSF officer.
The force now expects cross-border tension to escalate. “If their men have died, they will retaliate and we will return fire. Friday night could be busy,” said another BSF officer. The officer said that the force has communicated its apprehensions to the J&K government and asked it to prepare for the evacuation of people living on the border. “BSF is on high alert all along the International Boundary and ready to foil any infiltration attempt,” the BSF statement said.
However, Asim Bajwa, director general, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan, denied the BSF’s claims in two posts on his official Twitter account. “Indians resorted to unprovoked fire/shelling on working boundary in Shakargarh sector today.
Pak Rangers befittingly responded. No loss on Pak side,” Bajwa tweeted. “Indian claim of hitting or killing any Pakistani soldier/Ranger with firing at anytime of today at LOC/working boundary absolutely false,” he wrote.